What is Cyber Security? A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Cyber Security
Cyber Security refers to the act of protecting computer systems, networks and services provided by them from malicious digital attacks. It is also called electronic information security. Applications lacking proper cyber security can give access to information they were meant to protect. Attackers target your information, get unauthorized access, steal, destroy and can even compromise an entire system in the process. Often they extract money from the users and interfere with the normal functioning of the systems.
When on one hand it is getting more and more important to incorporate cyber security measures, on the other hand the process is becoming increasingly difficult due to the numerous devices in the market and the rising intelligence of the attackers in breaching the security.
Owing to this, different ways have been devised to strengthen the security of systems and networks and prevent them from malicious attacks.
Sub-domains of Cyber Security:
In this section we will focus more on cyber security. Mentioned below are the sub-domains into which cyber security has been divided.
Critical Infrastructure Security:
This involves the protection of infrastructures and systems critical to the society. For example, power grid, water purification systems etc.
This defends the internal networks from the unauthorized access of attackers. Examples of this can be using strong passwords and implementing two-factor authentication.
This includes finding and fixing security threats when an application is in its developmental phase. Examples include antivirus, programs, encryption etc.
It is also commonly called Infosec. This protects data available in all forms, physical or electronic from illegal access.
This is the process of protecting the data stored online on cloud computing platforms. Methods of protection include firewalls, penetration testing, avoiding public internet connection etc.
Data Loss Prevention:
This involves devising policies to reduce the risk of data loss as well as to recover the lost data in case of a security breach. Setting network permissions is a great example to cite under this.
End User Education:
This involves educating the users to implement cyber security measures . Making them aware of the spurious attachments and links which can show up on their systems or in emails and asking them not to click or download them is a part of the process.
Why is Cyber Security so Important?
Today, the world is getting operated from multiple digital platforms. Creating and storing data digitally and circulating it in different digital networks has become a very common as well as an important practice. Devices and systems have security loopholes which can be exploited by attackers. This can compromise entire systems and sensitive information which can undermine the objectives and reputation of companies.
Breach of cyber security can leak highly confidential data which can be devastating for the organizations. Customers as well as partners can lose trust. Besides , competitors get hold of their strategies to lead the race and can use those intellectual data against them.
Cyber attacks also incur massive amounts of money as they reveal that the particular companies were not sticking to the data protection regulations. It is evident that a cyber attack can potentially demolish an organization, reducing its reputation and economy to a scratch. Therefore, it’s crucial on the part of all companies to implement cyber security measures with utter sincerity.
What is a Cyber Security Threat?
Cyber attacks or cyber security threats are attempts by internal or external attackers to disrupt the integrity and confidentiality of information and systems of the targeted individuals and organizations. Attackers use a lot of illegal tools and methods to gain unauthorized access over the accounts of legitimate users.
They block accounts, steal sensitive information, extort money and personal details and can even cause an entire digital system to collapse. There are multiple ways in which attackers make an approach , depending on what they want. Let’s now have a look at different types of cybersecurity threats.
Types of Cyber Security Threats
Malwares are malicious software developed to invade computer systems and cause damage. Examples include computer viruses, Trojan Horses, spyware etc.
This is also a malicious software. It prevents user access until ransom is paid. Even after paying the ransom the system might not be restored.
This involves sending spurious emails which resemble those from trusted sources. Phishing is usually used to steal confidential information like credit card numbers or login information.
In this people are manipulated by the attackers into revealing their sensitive information. Social engineering and Phishing have often been seen to be overlapping.
This is a kind of attack where the attacker inserts a malicious code into the database and gains control over sensitive data, meant to be protected. This is one of the most serious problems in web security.
Man in the Middle Attack:
This is a type of cyber attack where the attacker stops the communication between two persons to take away or steal the data.
Denial of Service Attack:
Here, attackers load systems with unnecessary traffic which overwhelms organizations and diverts them from carrying out necessary functions.
Remote Code Execution Attack:
This attack involves the attacker gaining illegal access over a computer or server and making changes irrespective of its geographical location.
Brute Force Attack:
In this type of attack, the attacker tries entering all the guessable passwords or passphrases using wordlists until he hits the right one.
Top Cyber Security Certifications:
Cyber Security professionals are in great demand nowadays. They can work in banks, in corporate organizations and other companies . While the prime responsibility of a cyber security professional is to protect the system and sensitive information from malicious attacks, a lot of variation is seen in terms of career.
Aspirants should pick the career opportunities based on their interest and skill set. Expertise in a particular area helps in professional growth. The following are some of the top notch certifications in the field of cyber security.
- CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
- GIAC (Global Information Assurance Certification)
- CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
- OSCP (Offensive Security Certified Professional)
- CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)
How to Avoid Cyber Attacks:
Now you must have understood how important following cyber security measures is. Every network or system has vulnerabilities which can be exploited by the attackers. So it’s your responsibility to identify and fix them and most importantly stay alert. I will tell you some of the safety measures you should always stick to in order to prevent breach of cyber security.
Update to Your Software Regularly:
Attackers look for vulnerabilities in older versions of applications. Updating softwares regularly will allow you to fix your existing flaws with new security patches which the attackers will find tough to exploit. Any application where your personal information is stored should be regularly updated and only the current version must be used.
Use Anti-Virus Software:
They will find the security threats in your system and fix them. Even if your system is only for personal use do not forget to install an antivirus software.
Use Unusual and Strong Passwords:
It is well understood that you might find it difficult to remember them but strong passwords are a great way to protect your data. Attackers use bot attacks to list out the common login passwords. If you have one of these too then you can easily be a victim of cyber crime. So use a mix of letters and numbers and create a password that cannot be easily guessed.
Don’t Download Unknown Email Attachments:
Email attachments from unknown sources might be infected with malware. So don’t open or download them. Educate yourself on social engineering and stay alert. Often these messages are deceptive. They might appear to be from people you know but can manipulate you and extract your personal information.
Don’t Click on Unknown Links:
A very common way to spread malware is through links in emails. If they are from unknown senders , don’t click on them.
Avoid Wi-Fi Services From Unknown:
Do not use Wi-Fi networks in public places. They might not be secured and might lead to a man in the middle attack.
Two Factor Authentication:
It is emerging as the strongest weapon against cyber attacks. Besides the login password this also asks for a code that is accessible only on a registered device like a person’s phone. When you are asked to enter an OTP, it is an attempt to provide two-factor authentication to boost security.
Keep a Track of all the Websites You Have Logged into:
All the websites might not provide the same security. If any one gets hacked then the attackers can easily use those login details to get access to your other accounts. If you have the same password for all your accounts then you can become the victim to a chain of attacks.
At a time when everything is becoming digital, attackers find a great opportunity to commit cyber crimes. Now is the time to become alert and fight against it. Cyber Security as a term appears something big and complicated. But I think this article has assured you of its simplicity.
Follow the above-mentioned steps regularly as if it is your duty. Make others aware about cyber security, how harmful it can be and how to protect their systems. Do not forget to report cyber crimes to the concerned authorities. If all users stick to the protection regulations sincerely and stay alert always then cyber crimes can be ruled out to a great extent.